Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Crock Pot Chili

Chili in a Crock Pot

2 lbs Thousand Hills Grass Feed Ground beef ~ browned and drained
2 ~ 29 oz. diced tomatoes
2 ~ kidney beans drained and rinsed
1 cup of onion diced
2 TBSP coconut oil
¼ cup diced celery (or use some celery salt)
2 TBSP tomato paste (or more to taste)
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder (add up to 2 TBSP chili powder depending on how much heat you want)
1 ½ tsp pepper
2 tsp. sea salt


Brown and drain hamburger.  Melt coconut oil and cook onions until soft in cast iron pan.  Add all ingredients in crock pot.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.  

I find it easy to brown large amounts of ground beef and freeze in 2 lbs. package for quick meals.  Saves clean up and you have ready to go meat for chili, tacos, you name it...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Banana Bars

A really good friend of mine (very talented lady, I mean, like, she can do ANYTHING~ photography, homeschool, bake, play sports, art, music etc...) liked my chocolate bars and apple pie cinnamon bars and came up with a banana version.  As you know I like to tweak recipes, so I did, BUT not much.  Enjoy.

I call these Banana Laura Bars in honor of Laura.

1/2 c. ground raw walnuts (I use a coffee grinder to get the texture I like)
1 c. ground raw blanched almonds
1 c. ground cashews
1 t. brown rice syrup or maple syrup
18 pitted dates
3 bananas cut into 1/4 inch slices, (in oven at 210 for 6-8 hours until dried but still soft OR buy banana chips)
1 banana blended in miniprep
1 TBSP honey
2 t. cinnamon
sea salt to taste

In blender or food processor, pluse until mixed together, put in fridge.  Cut and wrap in parchment paper.  Keep in fridge.  If they are still too gooey,   cut into bars, put into dehydrator for an hour (or in oven at 200) until they were "pickupable" without falling apart. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Kombucha 2.0 Version

As with anything, the more you make it, the more you become an expert at making it.  I have a few new tips and a fun way to JAZZ up your plain ol' kombucha.

1.)  I have found letting the tea bags seep for 10 minutes and THEN adding the sugar and bringing it back to a boil produces a better quality kombucha.  Don't know why, but it works. So, tea first, sugar second.

2.)  JAZZ kombucha is as simple as adding a tablespoon or so of chia seeds.  I am loving the chia seed and have been trying to incorporate it my diet.   When the kombucha is done fermenting, I put it in a bottle with a bit of cranberry juice, fresh squeezed lemon and a tablespoon of chia seed.  If you are using a larger bottle, add three tablespoons.  Let sit for the second ferment for 1-3 days, refrigerate for 1-3 days and then drink.  AHHH!

Need more info on WHY eating CHIA seed is good for you?  Check out my post on CHIA SEEDS.

Like this post and need more information on Kombucha?  Click here, here, and here.

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tilapia, Its Whats for Dinner.

Of all the weird things my allergen free kiddos can't eat, it has to be salmon, or maybe its just that I miss it so much.  I loved eating it with a drizzle of soy sauce and broiling it to a crispy outside perfection with a tender, moist inside.  Cod is out for our oldest son and a few other types of fish.  My dearest can't eat shellfish.  This really limits our intake of yummy omega producing meat sources.

BUT, the one we can all eat and enjoy is tilapia.  We eat it a few ways...

Drizzle fresh squeezed lemon over it and top with a sprinkle of dill or place a lemon slice on each piece and top with dill.


Using my bread coating recipe I use for chicken. I just fry it in a cast iron pan and finish baking it in the oven.


MY NEW FAVORITE WAY!  (I saw this on Mennonite Girls Can Cook and had to adjust it to fit our family)

Pesto and Tomato Tilapia
6-8 Tilapia fillets (we use about 2 per person)

1 cup packed basil  (I keep an indoor basil plant, and just love it.)
1/4 Parmesan (I omit this, but optional for dairy free is Parma)
1/4 walnuts toasted (traditional is pinenuts)
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
(this did not work in my blender, so I used my standard alternative~ the coffee grinder)

Red Sauce
3 roma tomatoes
1 TBSP onion powder
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. of grated lemon peel or lemon juice if peel isn't tolerated
1 tsp. oregano
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of sugar
(optional is parmesan about 1/2 cup)
Blend or pluse in your blender

Top fish with pesto and then red sauce.  Bake about 10-15 minutes until fish is flaky and tender.  Serve.  Enjoy. 

NOTE: if you have pesto on hand and red sauce this could be a 15 minute dinner.

The picture doesn't do it justice.  It looks a little nasty even(?)  But the taste is wonderful.  I think this would be awesome on noodles as well or garlic bread.  OH yum!

Got this from Trader Joes.  We use it all the time for pizza sauce, garlic bread etc.  Smells good too!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ancient Grains~ Shopping and Resources

Ready to Shop the Ancient Grain Way?

Ready Made Products
         Enjoy Life Crunchy Flax with Chia
         Qi’a Cereals
         I Heart Keenwah
         Sorghum Minipops
         Plentils
         Way Better Snack Chips
         Crunch Master 7 Ancient Grains crackers
         Eden Organic Millet
         Wholesome Kitchen Quinoa
         Ancient Quinoa Pastas and Mac “N” Cheese
         Adean Dream Vegeterian Quinoa Soup or Fusilli Pasta (made from Quinoa and corn free!)
         Orgran MultiGrain O’s with Quinoa
         Udi’s Omega Flax and Fiber
         Udi’s Millet Chia
         Canyon Bakehouse Bread 7 Grain
         Green Bakery Millet Bread and Sorghum Bread
         Thuro Teff or Buckwheat Breads

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ancient Grains ~ Amaranth


This is one of the earliest known plants used for food.  It was used in the western hemisphere by the Aztecs, who highly valued it.  It was (and is) considered a super food due to the energy it provides athletes.  Amaranth is in the Chenopodiaceous family (things like spinach, beets.)  It is said to taste faintly like corn and can be popped like corn as well.  It is often flavored with onions and garlic.  The leaves are eaten as well.  It is used to make tortillas, a candy-like bar (still eaten today during Day of the Dead); it is a common staple in Mexican cuisine.  Amaranth is easy, low maintence plant to grow in your garden.

Health benefits include: high quality protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and phytosterols.    When compared to wheat, it has higher fiber and protein.  It has a great balance of amino acids and contains more lysine, cysteine and methionine then are typically found in other grains in only small amounts.    The Phytosterols in the amaranth help combat cholesterol because they compete for absorption in the intestines, the cholesterol is then blocked from being absorbed and is excreted.  Some sources say it helps increase immune system function and helps to balance hormones.


Basic Cereal
1 cup amaranth seeds
4 cups water

Combine seeds and water in pan, bring to a boil over a medium high heat.  Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally.  Cook for about 20-25 minutes.  During the last 5 minutes, it will sputter and stirring consistently will reduce the sputtering.  Flavor with fruit, raw honey, coconut milk and/or cinnamon sugar.

Amaranth Flat Breads   http://www.ancientgrains.blogspot.com/
1 cup amaranth flour
1/3 cup corn meal
1/4 tsp salt
About ½ + cup water

Place amaranth flour, corn and salt in a small bowl. Mix to combine. Add water. Mix well until smooth. Add more water or flour to make sticky but manageable dough. Knead for 1 minute. You are looking for a soft dough that holds together.  Place more amaranth flour on the counter. Flour your hands. Remove a piece of dough. Roll between the palms of your hands with a good amount of pressure to form a smooth ball which leads to a more uniform circle when rolled out. 

Balls about the size of a ping pong ball will make a 4” bread.
Balls about the size of a tennis ball will make a 9" bread.

Place the ball of dough on the floured counter. Press into a disk. Flour a rolling pin and roll until they reach the thickness of a corn tortilla, or just use your hands to pat into a circle.

Heat a skillet rather hot. On my electric griddle I set it to it’s hottest, 400 degrees. No need for oil. Place the amaranth bread on the hot, dry skillet. Cook until top begins to bubble. Turn over and cook other side until more puffing happens. This should take about 3-4 minutes or so per side. Remove to a rack to cool. Store in zip lock bags. They don’t stick so you can stack several together. These freeze really well.  Double or triple the recipe and mix in a standing mixer.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Ancient Grains~ Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a small, nutty flavored grain.  This grain is an Inca super food; they called it “mother of all grains.”  Quinoa comes from the Chenopodium plant (goosefoot).  There are about 120 know species of the plant, but only 3 are commonly grown today for food consumption.  We know them as white, red and black Quinoa.  While Quinoa is used a grain in cooking, it actually is classified as a fruit.  Its leaves are edible and can be used in salads.  It is considered super food due it its high nutritional characteristics, such as, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron.  It also is high in amino acids; in fact it contains a nearly perfect balance of the eight essential amino acids we need.  Quinoa contains about 12-18% protein.  A mere ½ cup of this super food provides a child’s full daily protein needs.  When cooking Quinoa, it does need to be rinsed prior to cooking to remove its bitter coating. 


Basic flour ratio
3 parts Quinoa flour
3 parts Sorghum flour
2 parts potato starch
1 part Tapioca flour

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